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Expert Picks: Honda Classic

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This week marks the 15th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season as many of the game's best tee it up at PGA National for the Honda Classic, as the PGA Tour heads into its annual Florida Swing. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Although he wasn’t his best to start the season, the world No. 1 has had a few weeks to shake off the rust and his Sunday 62 at PGA National proved he could play the course.

Group 2: Rickie Fowler: After a difficult start to 2014, Fowler rebounded with his trip to the semifinals last week at Dove Mountain and he finished T-13 last year at the Honda Classic.

Group 4: Brian Harman: He already has three top-10 finishes this season, including a T-3 at the Northern Trust Open, and if the wind blows he is a good enough ball-striker to weather the storm.

Group 4: Jason Allred: In the ultimate feel-good story, Allred only made it into the field thanks to his top-10 finish at the Northern Trust Open but wasn’t sure he could play PGA National because his wife was due this week. Allred’s third child was delivered on Monday and he could make it a career week at the Honda Classic.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Sergio Garcia: He’s been the unfortunate victim of some negative karma over the years; perhaps a little positive karma is due this week.

Group 2: Rickie Fowler: It would be pretty cool if we could get Rickie and Sergio in the final pairing come Sunday. No concessions allowed.

Group 3: Matt Every: I think he wins one this year and he tends to play his best golf in Florida, so that sort of narrows the options.

Group 4: Ted Potter, Jr.: Love when the Tour hits the Florida Swing, because I can pencil in Teddy for a few fantasy starts on home soil.


John Antonini

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Even though he lost on the second day of the Match Play, Rory played well last week. His 13 birdies in two rounds are a sign his game is rounding into form, and what better place to showcase his resurgence than at the Honda Classic, which he won in 2012 before an ignominious withdrawal a year ago.

Group 2: Rickie Fowler: Fowler's young enough to bounce back quickly after playing six rounds at the Match Play (as McIlroy did in 2012). Plus, he was T-7 and T-15 at PGA National the last two years, and has a history at Jack Nicklaus courses. He was second at Muirfield Village in 2010 to go with his third-place finish last week at Dove Mountain.

Group 3: Brian Harman: Staying with another hot hand in the 27-year-old Georgian, who was T-3 at the Northern Trust Open two weeks ago. Remember, too, that he shot a course-record 61 in round two of the 2012 Honda (T-12 finish).

Group 4: Erik Compton: If there is a place for the Compton story to take it's most Hollywood-esque turn, it's at the Honda Classic, where the south Florida native was T-4 a year ago with four rounds of 70 or better.